Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Matthew 25: 31 - 46
“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
Today is the feast of Christ the King. This is not about honouring a King as someone in power ruling over us, as the words Christ the King may first suggest, but about honouring Christ present in every part of the universe. The full name of this feast is aptly called: “Christ the King of the Universe.”
The Gospel reminds us of what is most essential: being there for each other, walking alongside, feeding, welcoming, clothing and visiting those in need. In doing so we will find ourselves in the company of Jesus who identifies himself with those who find life difficult.
Coming hot off the heels of the first World Day of the Poor, today’s theme sharpens the focus. If we do not understand this feast day in the right way, then we run the risk of being like the apostles and expecting an all-powerful leader that can make things right. Pope Benedict said the Eucharist is “intrinsically fragmented” if it does not lead to concrete, practical actions of caring.
What actions can you take this week? Where might you be led to minister to God’s “little ones”? There is no doubt that the responsibility to care falls on each one of us. It is not something we can leave for someone else. In the words of Jesus: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.” This is where the real power lies: in breaking open the words into actions that will make a difference.